Patellofemoral Pain (Runners knee)

What is Patellofemoral pain?
Patellofemoral Pain (PFP), commonly known as ‘runner’s knee’, is the most common single diagnosis of knee pain in runners. It is characterised by non-specific anterior knee pain, which is often behind the patella. Forces on the patella range from up to ½ a person’s body weight during walking, 3x bodyweight when walking up stairs, and up to 7x body weight when jogging, which helps us to understand why the patellofemoral joint is commonly injured in runners.

Common symptoms of PFP include pain with activities that load the patellofemoral joint such as running, climbing or descending stairs and squatting, as well as pain or stiffness (or both) on prolonged periods of flexion such as sitting for prolonged periods. The cause of patellofemoral problems can be multifactorial, including abnormal patellofemoral joint kinetics (such as patella mal-tracking) or anatomical anomalies, lower kinetic chain alterations, muscle dysfunction and training errors or overuse.

What can we do about it?
Reduction of loading to the patellofemoral joint is the first step to reducing pain. Runners should reduce mileage to a level that does not provoke pain (during or after running). Ice therapy after activity can be a useful way of managing pain. The management of PFP should focus on the implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Programs should be specific to the needs of each individual, as no one program will be effective for all, as the underlying cause of the problem needs to be addressed.

The principles of patellofemoral rehabilitation include managing any pain and swelling, muscle strengthening, enhancing soft tissue flexibility, neuromuscular control, enhancing patellofemoral biomechanics and finally gradually progressing back to activity.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.